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Letter Meme

Letter Meme

I’ve been tasked by Literate Kitten to come up with 10 things I like that start with the letter “A” (because the opposite of “Z”?) So …

1. Aardvarks. Well, not the actual creature, but the word. With that double a, it reminds me of classrooms and who got to beat out the erasers in second grade. We all fought for that dubious honor.

2. alibris. That would be–great for out of print books. I’m still holding out for a hardback copy of Ann Moray’s Rising of the Lark that’s under $50. I loved that book as a kid, but the paperback simply will not do. I need that pale blue cloth cover, and the squidgy old-fashioned font.

3. Is this cheating? Two book sites? Well, I adore Amazon, though I rarely order from them. Frankly, they piss me off. Like they’ll say 5 day shipping, but it takes an additional 5 days to leave their warehouse. What’s that about?!? I order from instead. So why, then, is Amazon on the list? Because they are great to research books and perfect to store to read lists. Just not so good to order from.

4. Apples. And not just apples from the store, but sweet tart honeycrisps with their streaky skins on a brisk fall morning.

5. Absolutes. As in aromatherapy. I just spent an ungodly sum on a small vial of rose absolute, and it is the most divine thing ever. Alas, all the scents I really love–rose, Mitsouko perfume–make Steve tell me I smell like his grandmother. Apparently, this is not sexy.

6. Arpeggios. I love the word; it sounds like what they are. I liked arpeggios when I took piano lessons too, because I have big hands and was good at them. Well, mainly those for c and g. Too many sharps and flats kinda stumped me.

7. Almond paste. Not marzipan, but the almond paste you can buy for pastries. YUM.

8. Astrology. It’s kind of pathetic, but I love reading my horoscope. Never mind the fact that you can apply pretty much anything to pretty much anyone. Really, I think most horoscopes are basically about self-affirmation. But hey, it works.

9. Auctions.I’m a huge, huge eBay fan, mainly for Japanese prints but also for books and household sundries. is a wonderful Japanese print auction site (and even better for research). Also, I’ve started branching out to some local auction houses, where you can leave your bid and then they tell you whether you’ve won or not. Haven’t won anything yet, but it’s fun.

10. The alphabet. How could any reader/writer skip this one? And who came up with the tune, anyway?

Let’s keep it going! I am going to copy Litkitten and say that if you want a letter, leave me a comment.

Dark Room

Dark Room

Bill just sent me a link to Dark Room, which is, in their words:

… a full screen, distraction free, writing environment. Unlike standard word processors that focus on features, Dark Room is just about you and your text.

The thought of just me and my text is terrifying.

It’s also green on black, like those old Wangs the State Department used to use.

The Great Firefox 2 vs. IE7 Debate

The Great Firefox 2 vs. IE7 Debate

I used Firefox for a brief period a while ago, and didn’t like it at all. It was the tabbed browsing. It was hard to get used to.

Then I got downloaded IE7 and really got into the tabbed browsing thing. But sheesh, my antispyware programs were dizzy with overuse. It seemed like I had an “attempted browser hijack” every single day–this with regular use of Spyware Blaster (with real time protection), AdAware, and Spybot AND TrendMicro AND an enabled firewall.

So I’ve gone back to Firefox. And is it just my imagination or is IE7 a) really, really slow and b) memory hog?

*** I just posted this, and it seems like WordPress is responding much more quickly too. I’d noticed that WordPress was CRAWLING. Does it have something to do with IE7 not handling AJAX well?

Zia’s Word Meme

Zia’s Word Meme

A word that describes me is …

My favorite word is …
Cunctation. Because it sounds like it’s dirty, but it’s not. Also because it’s obsolete, so it makes me feel smart. (It means a delay.)

My least favorite word is …
Classy. Let’s face it, if you have to describe something as classy, it’s probably not.

Use the two words in a sentence …
When her date finally appeared toward the end of Act II, he excused his extreme cunctation by explaining that he had to buy a classy suit.

A word I always have to think twice about pronouncing is …
Manure. My mother always said matyoor for mature, so I always want to say manyoor. And that just doesn’t sound right.

Dictionaries … printed or online?
I have a gazillion dictionaries, but still tend to use

A word whose meaning I cannot seem to retain no matter how many times I look it up …
Bathos. Admittedly, one doesn’t come across bathos very often, but whenever I hear/read “pathos,” I remind myself to look up bathos for the umpteenth time.

Open a dictionary to a random page and find a word you don’t know. Post the word and the definition.
facinorous: atrociously wicked

Use the new word and the word you can never remember in a sentence.
Despite the vampire’s attempts to look facinorous, he only succeeded as a bathetic figure.

One of the most overused in my area of work/study is …
Leverage. God, I hate that word. Impact (as a verb) is a close second.

Happy 1,004th Post to Me

Happy 1,004th Post to Me

Three full years of managing to keep a blog somewhat current. Six different names, 10 different templates, and two different platforms (Blogger and WordPress). Ah, the halcyon days of yore.

And may I just point out that the people who used to make fun of me for blogging now have blogs of their own?

A Christmas Meme

A Christmas Meme

via pages turned

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate. Egg nog is just gross.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? We don’t really do the present thing so much anymore, although the mothers do. When I was a kid, Santa wrapped. So did the cat, the dog, and whatever undead goldfish I had at the time. Strangely, the gift tags all bore my mother’s handwriting.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Our neighbor Adam accused me not too long ago of “having to do everything differently.” It’s not intentional. We had white lights up last year, liked them so much we never took them down, and then they died. So no lights at all this year.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? I would if I weren’t so lazy. The thought of kissing Steve senseless under it appeals. He, no doubt, would shudder in horror.

5. When do you put your decorations up? What decorations?

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Roast beef with yorkshire pudding.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Trimming the tree. Every year. I loved it. Taking the tree down? Not so much.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? It was more of a slow dawning realization. As I said, Santa’s writing resembled my mother’s.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No, but we always opened stocking presents before breakfast. My stocking was WONDERFUL. It was enormous. It finally broke under the accumulated weight of years of overloading. One of the great sadnesses of my life.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? I’m so proud; we managed to get a tree this year. No ornaments in sight; I stuck hair accoutrements on it instead.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? LOVE!

12. Can you ice skate? Not for years.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Hmmm. Not really.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Staying away from families–always traumatic.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I have no idea.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? The music

17. What tops your tree? This year? A big pink hair clampy thing. Hey, there was nothing else.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? I’ve been trying to get away from the holiday gift-giving for years. It all seems so silly; people rushing around buying crap that no one wants or needs. This year, I’m giving away soap (shock), and also flocks of geese to families in developing nations in person x’s name.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Not really a song, but The Messiah. The whole darn thing. It’s just not Christmas unless you’re sick and tired of it.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? It’s sugar, so yum.



Just logged into Amazon and saw a new link called “Zia’s Plog.” It even had a TM sign after the plog. In their words:

Your Plog is a personalized web log that appears on your customer home page. Every person’s Plog is different (hence the name) and just like a blog, your Plog is sorted in reverse chronological order. Each post also gives you the opportunity to provide feedback to the sender as to whether you liked the post or not. This feedback loop means your Plog becomes even more relevant and interesting over time. Your Plog will appear if you are logged into our web site and is visible only to you.

Oh good grief.

Someone actually came up with the word plog? And then they felt the need to trademark it? Stupid marketing ideas … smog? F**** dating mining … fog? Yikes.



Let me say that I am not a joiner. There’s a reason I work from home. (Well, there are lots of them.) I think the write a novel in a month thing is dumb. I think the write a blog post every single day is even dumber. But this, this is sheer brilliance.


For the next thirty days, we want you to show us your shoes–the good, the bad, the ugly-but-oh-so-comfortable. Post daily, or once in a while, or when the shoe whim strikes. Because you wear them every day, why not photograph them? Every day. For one month.

It’s that easy.

Although … who says I wear shoes every day? And I’m not saying that I’ll actually do it. I want to. But right now I have a deadline. Manana, manana.

Which come to think of it is what I say about my novel and my book blog posts too.

Yet Another Quiz … But a Fun One

Yet Another Quiz … But a Fun One

So what’s my literary personality?

You scored as A classic novel. Almost everyone showers praise upon you for your depth and enduring relevance. According to your acolytes, everything you say is timeless, erudite and meaingful. Of course, none of them actually listen to you. Nobody listens to you at all, but it’s fashionable to claim you as a friend. Fond of obscure words, antiquated notions and libraries, you never have a problem finding someone to hang out with. The fact that they end up using you to balance their kitchen tables is an unfortunate side effect, but you’re used to being used for others’ benefit. Oh the burden of being Great.

A classic novel


A college textbook


A coloring book


A paperback romance novel


The back of a froot loops box




An electronics user’s manual


Your Literary Personality
created with

I Love eBay

I Love eBay

Antique Bic Biro
A rare opportunity to own an actual piece of history.

This Bic Biro began it’s life in the 11th century and First appeared in 1086 when it was used to cross out spelling mistakes in the Domesday Book.

Later Thomas Beckett was appointed the Archbishop of Canterbury and somehow the pen appears to have got into his possession as it was used to sign for a delivery of Bishops Mitras in a Large Size. Thomas Beckett appears to have taken the pen to France with him when he fled following the ‘Constitution of Clarendon’.

There is no sign of the pen now until 1215 when there were reports that a certain Black Bic Biro belonging to Thomas Beckett had come into the possession of King John. It is reported that the King used the pen to sign the Magna Carta and was then taken back to the Palace and placed in the secret vaults designed for the sole purpose of keeping rare Bic Biros.

The following is merely hearsay and it is believed that the events were created following the recent popularity of the book ‘The Da Vinci Code’. It is said that during a particularly important meeting between the Knights Templar that the pen was to be used to sign for a delivery of an important package from the South of France, nobody is sure what it was, but the pen had run out of ink and nobody had a replacement so the item was shown as undelivered and went back to TNT where it could still be now! Shortly after this incident the Knights Templar broke up.

There is now a long period of inactivity for the pen, possibly due to fact that so far no-one had invented a refill for a Bic Biro (What came first, the pen or the refill?). The action of rubbing a pen vigorously in-between your hands may have started at this time. Later, using modern technology to cross match ink samples it seems that the pen somehow fell into the possession of Guy Fawkes who, drawing on the back of a toilet roll drew out the basic plot for the ermmm… plot. The pen must then have been dropped in the struggle and remained below Parliament where it was discovered in 1707 by a cleaner doing the rounds underneath the building, thinking it was a penny whistle, she blew it causing herself to be covered in black ink. Running up the stairs in terror she bumped into an official who by chance was looking for a working pen as his had just run out. The pen was taken into a state room just in time to sign the ‘Act of Union’, uniting England and Scotland forever and putting the control of power firmly in the hands of London.

Again the pen disappears into obscurity until we find ourselves in Hayes, near Bromley in Kent, the year is 1766 and a young Pitt the Younger seems to have been in possession of the said pen as it was found in his pencil case next to his eraser and novelty pencil sharpener. It still seems to have been subject to a large amount of rubbing as we were still a long way from the invention of the refill.

Rumours circulate and an actual eye witness said under the influence of alcohol that the pen was used to sign the ‘Declaration of Independence’, this is very unlikely as we know from writings of the time that the President had received a free sample pen in the post to send out to all his customers bearing the words ‘Thomas Jefferson is the pres and he rules OK’

Queen Victoria died in 1901, however there is no evidence that the pen was in anyway responsible for this, it was out at the time although there is no written record.

Finally in 1982 the pen turned up in the South of England, having been sent over from North America. I was age 11 at the time and it appeared in my pencil case and in dire need of a new refill. Luckily the refill had just been invented and I bought one for 12p. Later due to a large amount of chewing and the misplacement of the lid I decided to research its history and restore it to it’s original condition.

Comes with a ‘Certificate of Authenticity’ and a ‘Certificate of Provenance’

Please email me with any questions / comments. SERIOUS BIDDERS ONLY.


Totally Tubular

Totally Tubular

The anti-net neutrality Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) offers his own version of version of how the Internet works. Scary, huh?

There’s one company now you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right.

But this service isn’t going to go through the interent and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.

Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.

So you want to talk about the consumer? Let’s talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren’t using it for commercial purposes.

We aren’t earning anything by going on that internet. Now I’m not saying you have to or you want to discrimnate against those people […]

The regulatory approach is wrong. Your approach is regulatory in the sense that it says “No one can charge anyone for massively invading this world of the internet”. No, I’m not finished. I want people to understand my position, I’m not going to take a lot of time. [?]

They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck.

It’s a series of tubes.

I love it.

He goes on to say that these tubes get clogged by “anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material.”

Drano anyone?


On Snotty E-mails

On Snotty E-mails

For the past few months, Steve has been toiling away at an apartment complex on Mercer Island. The job has gone from bad to worse, for many reasons — and apparently, there are lots of tenants who are as impossible as the owners. Case in point: he thrust a piece of paper in my hand when he got home today. “Read this!”

I am not including the guy’s name — but only because Steve won’t let me. Personally, I think it would be great if some chick he asks out on a date or prospective employer googled him and saw this e-mail. Heh. Anyway, here it is, in all its unexpurgated glory:

I just spent 3 and a half hours cleaning my car only to not be able to park in my RESERVED spot. Some ass monkey in a Dodge Neon apparently decided it was a nice spot – the garage wasn’t at all full. So there are really 3 things here I’m pissed off about.

  1. It took me that long to clean my car. Don’t get me started on where all the dirt is coming from.
  2. I pay for a reserved spot, but anyone can park there. Why do I bother?
  3. A fucking Dodge Neon?? Come on!! I crap out things that are better than that.

If this is a matter of [the developer] not providing you with reserved signs, just let me know, and I guarantee you’ll get them very soon. A Dodge Neon?? What is that?? People who drive those shouldn’t even be renting here.



Ah, the things we do for Internet access. I am currently sprawled in the truck Jose loaned me, laptop on middle console, surreptitiously stealing wireless from the doctor’s office in Julian.





I managed to upgrade myself to the latest version of WordPress. This is probably not that big a deal to many of you, but I personally find it scary to dink around with mySQL databases and lots of random files that need to be overwritten.

Save the Internet

Save the Internet

The Coalition launches April 24 to urge Congress to take immediate steps to save the First Amendment of the Internet — a principle called “network neutrality? that ensures that the Web remains open to innovation and progress.